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Termination of Parental Rights- Part II; Voluntary Termination

A voluntary relinquishment of parental rights must be given intelligent, voluntarily and deliberately.

As pointed out in Part I (involuntary termination), there are two distinct types of termination proceedings. Those that are involuntary and those that are voluntary. It is important to point out that no court will allow the termination of parental rights of either sort unless there is a party ready, willing and available to adopt the child. This is because the child has the right to collect support, among other things, from the parent. If the rights of the parent are severed by termination proceedings, they are permanently severed.

With voluntary termination proceedings, the parent who is allowing their rights to be terminated must provide voluntary, willing and deliberate consent to the procedure. They must sign an affidavit that provides their consent that will be presented and filed with the court. After 30 days of filing, the consent becomes irrevocable and adoption proceedings may occur.

It is important to note that most voluntary adoptions will require a home study or evaluation. These studies are done by private agencies and may take 3 to 4 months to be completed. They are not cheap and the parent requesting the termination and adoption usually must pay for the evaluation. Prior to the adoption being able to proceed, it will need to be completed and filed with the court to review.

If you have questions about a voluntary adoption, you may call the offices of Shaffer & Engle at (717) 268-4287 to discuss your matter further.